It hasn’t been such a bad campaign for Sporting Lisbon this season, they are third in both the Primeira Liga and in their Champions League group whilst sitting unbeaten in their last four matches. Not bad, especially since they made the next round of the Taca De Portugal on Thursday; Lazar Markovic scoring the winner against Famalicao.
Furthermore, what I gather from this team, it is one that is not easily pushed over. They were so unlucky not to gain a point away to Real Madrid considering they were winning for a majority of the match. Also, some of the players they have in their squad have real talent and have played at major clubs around the world.
One player I look forward to watching is William Carvalho. The centre-midfielder had a key role in Euro 2016 for Portugal and is a great passer of the ball. It would be good to see him again Dortmund and whether he can deliver through balls for the likes of Markovic or Bryan Ruiz.
I wouldn’t write off Sporting Lisbon for this one, especially when you look at their squad, and their manager Jorge Jesus, but it’s whether they can deliver in this competition. Last season they just missed out on a spot after losing to CSKA Moscow over two legs. Watch out for these lot!
Their opponents, meanwhile, are well known in this competition considering they came so close to lifting the Champions League in 2012. Borussia Dortmund enter the competition after a year out and failing to leave their mark in the Europa League.
Things haven’t been perfect for the German side recently having not picked up a win from their last three matches. Their last game ending in a 1-1 draw at home to Hertha Berlin.
I’m surprised no one has hyped this group up as the ‘Group of Death’. With Real Madrid it is these two sides who are battling it out for second spot. Away from home, Dortmund have only won six of their last ten, losing four. Not great considering they are taking on a side who has won their last five at home in all competitions.
Furthermore, what makes it harder for Thomas Tuchel is that eight players are out injured including Marco Reus, Andre Schurrle and Sven Bender. These are all key members of the squad and massive losses. Honestly, it doesn’t look good for BVB. They still have the class act in Pierre-Emerick Aubaumeyang, and playmaker Mario Gotze though, but surely these injuries will affect the flow of the team.
These two sides have never met before in a competitive fixture, but Jorge Jesus’ side have only won twice at home against a German club from their 12 meetings. Dortmund, on the other hand, have only won one of their four matches on the road in Portugal.
Based on form and players available, I am backing Sporting Lisbon for this one. The players they have at their disposal should do the job at home. Also, with the experience of Jesus, he should deliver at the Estadio Jose Alvalade. Dortmund will obviously remain a threat, but too many players are missing for me to think they can win this one.
Prices correct at time of writing.